Re: Measuring Memes -- as waveforms

t (
Tue, 15 Jun 1999 20:24:16 EDT

From: <>
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 1999 20:24:16 EDT
Subject: Re: Measuring Memes -- as waveforms

In a message dated 6/15/99 1:59:10 PM Central Daylight Time, writes:

>> If you treat memes as waveforms then you can create complex waveforms that
when transmitted contain 'hidden' meanings. For example, a word has its root
and associated meanings as 'baggage' and some of which are obvious to me and
some of which are not. If I learn a new word with a meaning 'X', but this
word originates from meaning Y+Z as well as X, and I then go to an analyst,
the analyst can dig-up the Y+Z and force me to believe that I knew this but
repressed it; the analyst disentangles the word revealing the 'hidden'
meanings that I may or may not be aware of, and then you can be convinced
that 'unconsciously' you 'must' have known! . . . <<

... . . etc.

I Just wanted to say that you made a awful lot of sense with that one. In
fact, I might be so bold as to say that I think you may be right. As wooly
as it sounds I think there really is something alive underneath. This could
provide explanation for why some people want to attribute autonomy to memes.
They can seem autonomous when it is our less conscious or "subconscious"
doing the work. This could also explain many people's penchant for believing
in a collective unconsciousness and archetypes even when there is no evidence
for the more paranormal/supernatural mechanisms that such ideas often imply
(though not *necessarily* implied, I suppose).

I wouldn't give up easily on that idea if I was you. I know that I
personally have at times gone to great efforts to pack multiple layers of
meaning in my messages, though I haven't generally intended these layers to
be subliminal to the recipients. However it has occurred to me after reading
your EM that for some recipients and some contexts, such unnoticed injections
may be the actual effect. Many people do not unpack all the meaning that is
intentionally or even obviously (to me) in a message. I love philosophy, and
many philosophers that I have engaged are very literalist. I generally
accomodate them in that preference, but habitually and intentionally speak in
terms that are both literal and metaphorical.

I also find myself successfully conveying entire complex attitudes in
addition to my messages, and not being entirely certain how I succeeded in
doing so. The temptation for many to resort to paranormal explanations in
such situations may be considerable, but I feel confident that given enough
information about a situation and an opportunity to reflect more on my own
entire delivery, that such things are entirely explainable without resorting
to those skyhooks. Your EM provided a lot of insight on just such



This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)